No matter how many times you visit Silverwood Theme Parks, the chances are good that you’ll find something new to look at, or you’ll see something that you’ve never noticed before. Maybe you ask yourself, “Has that always been there?” or you’ve wondered about where the name of an attraction came from. Perhaps you’re like me and just love trivia. On my recent trip to the park, I asked around about just such things, and here is what I found. Many of these “secrets” are well-known to others, but I’d like to think I’m shedding some light on a few things.
The Origins of Silverwood
When creating the mythical town of Silverwood, Gary Norton thought hard about what the northern Idaho landscape represented most. Silver mines and forestland came to mind, and hence, the name “Silverwood” was born.
The Airplane Connection
You might be surprised to learn that the land that occupies the theme park was originally an airfield known as Henley Aerodrome. Gary Norton purchased the land in 1981, adding an air museum, and even performed in a few stunt shows. When Silverwood opened in 1988, air stunt shows were a popular feature at the park until 1996. The Stunt Pilot roller coaster is a tribute to the old days and includes a mini air museum. It also features a real, restored red stunt airplane that hangs upside down overhead at the attraction’s entrance.
However, Silverwood has other tributes to flying as well. The Critter Camp area features the rides, Barnstormer and The Red Baron and the simply-named Toy Store features a couple of large model airplanes. The Curtis Candy Factory is named after Glenn Curtiss, the founder of the American aviation industry. Inside the shop, there are several model airplanes hanging from the ceiling to commemorate his accomplishments. And the full-service restaurant, Lindy’s, is named after aviator Charles Lindberg, the first airmail pilot who flew nonstop from New York to Paris.
It’s All Relative
Gary Norton may have founded the park, but it’s his family that keeps it going strong. His oldest son, David, is the manager of Lindy’s restaurant. That man you see waving to you while riding on the steam train? That’s Gary’s second son Mike who runs the BBQ Pavilions. Third son Paul is the park’s COO and daughter Michele is the director of Human Resources. The park’s resident magician, Nick Norton, is the youngest son. Granddaughter Stephanie serves as the park’s Public Relations Manager. Caselli’s Pizzeria is named after Great Great Grandma Caselli.
Hiding in Plain Sight
All around Silverwood, you’ll find antiques and items that add to the look and feel of the park. Most are there just for looks; others have some personal relevance.
The Ghosts of Lindy’s Restaurant
Lindy’s features numerous old-time photos that hang on the walls. While the photos themselves have no connection to the park, many of the restaurant servers have come up with backstories for the people shown in them. The restaurant also features a real working clock that is over 100 years old.
During the Scarywood season, there is an “American Gothic”-style painting inside the Blood Bayou that features Mr. and Mrs. Norton. If you’ve walked inside the haunted house, you’ll know it as it drops when you walk by!
The Lost Little Puppy
Have you noticed the large doghouse located at the Puppy-Go-Round ride area? Inside the doorway is a painting of Paul Norton’s former pet, a bulldog named Roco who meant the world to him.
While riding the Steam Engine Train, you’ll notice that focus is now on finding Bigfoot and the fairies have moved out of Fairy Woods. But if you look closely, you’ll still find a house or two that they have left behind.
Where Did That Come From?
Around one of the turns of Thunder Canyon, you’ll find an old mine care that has almost been completely taken over by flowers. Outside of the Shooting Gallery stands a wood carving of a Native American Indian chief.
What a Tribute
More recently, Silverwood is giving honor where honor is due even if you have to wonder why. For instance, can you think of any public restroom that is actually named after a particular person? Lonnie’s Loo (located near Aftershock) is just such a place. It was named after one of the park’s most memorable maintenance men. What an honor! Whatever you do, respect Lonnie’s Loo.
The Secret Garden
Throughout Silverwood, you see beautiful gardens and special touches created by theming consultant Chrissy. The garden is home to eight special birdhouses, with one that looks suspiciously like the Victorian Coffee House on Main Street.
Sometimes the best thing about your visit is when you discover something that has been there all along.
Best 25 Cents Ever Spent
A little-known feature outside of The Roaring Creek Log Flume is the Log Flume Geyser which gives the best reward for your loose change. Actually, there are two locations, but the second one right after the drop is the best one we found. Here, riders breathe a sigh of relief that they managed to ride the ride without getting all that wet. That’s when you drop your quarter in the slot and watch as the riders get a final splash before heading back into the barn!
The Hidden Gift Shop Worth Finding
During my recent trip to the park, I discovered the Mine Shack gift shop (located near the Red Baron and the Barnstormer). Inside the shop you’ll find an entrance to a dark, underground “mine” that my kids would have loved to have visited when they were younger. Here, you can sift through the dirt in search of colorful, shiny rocks to take home.
Pay Attention in the Station
While boarding the Steam Locomotive, you may find yourself rushing through the train station, but I recommend taking a look around before you board. Here you’ll find a number of artifacts found by Professor Pennyworth from the Royal British Exploration Society, including a casting of Big Foot’s foot, the Highly Venomous creature, and more. It really is one of the best-themed areas in the park.
The Third Best Magician
Nick Norton, the resident magician of Silverwood who performs his show, Phantasm, Thursdays-Mondays at the Park. Isaiah Daniels performs the same show on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the Theatre of Illusion. But the park is also home to performer Mad Mike, the Third Best Magician at Silverwood.” The fact that the park only has three magicians is beside the point. Performing multiple shows daily within the High Moon Saloon, the professor’s show is a must for families.
Despite how old and weathered the roller coaster Tremors looks, it’s not that old. It was built in 1999. While not the first theme park to offer a spinning 360-degree thrill ride, SpinCycle is the largest of its kind in the United States, and you won’t find a taller one in the world! The Timber Terror roller coaster was originally called Grizzly, but since there was a similar coaster with the same name elsewhere, it received a name change. It is also the only coaster that goes backward during Scarywood Haunted Nights.
Haven’t I Seen You Someplace Before?
Just as consignment stores sell “gently used” clothing, Silverwood has had its share of hand-me-downs too. The Roaring Creek Log Flume was originally found at Kentucky Kingdom, the roller coaster Corkscrew came from Knott’s Berry Farm, Aftershock was once known as Déjà vu at Six Flags Great America, and although Stunt Pilot is a completely new ride, it has two siblings known as RailBlazer (Six Flags Great America) and Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Coaster (Six Flags Fiesta Texas).
Everyone has their favorite food at Silverwood. In fact, the green beans served at the BBQ Pavilions are a favorite of Grandma Jeanne’s!
Huckleberries are Big Deal
I recently earned that huckleberries are a big deal in Northern Idaho and Silverwood is no exception. A variety of huckleberry treats can be found at the Silverwood Coffee Roasting and Trading Company, special chocolates featuring the berry can be found in the Curtis Candy Factory, and one of the best deals in the park is the Huckleberry Lemonade at Lindy’s Restaurant that comes with free refills!
Ice Cream Craziness
One of the worst-kept secrets at the park is the giant ice cream cones found at the Ice Creamery. Home to the signature Giant Scoop Ice Cream Cone, what they don’t tell you is that the “junior” cone is hardly that. The “one” scoop is actually five scoops! If you actually go for the Giant Scoop, you’ll come away with the equivalent of five scoops of ice cream. It’s madness. (Upgrade to a waffle cone and get an extra spoon. Less known is the super-tall soft-serve cones found at the Kettle Corn stand. Worth the wait.
Coffee Like No Other
Who needs Starbucks when you can roast your own? The Silverwood Coffee Roasting and Trading Company isn’t just a name of a gift shop, it is actually a real working roaster that supplies all of the coffee found in the park.
When the hustle-bustle of Boulder Beach becomes too much, head on over to the Main Street. During lunchtime, it is totally worth getting redressed and head over to Main Street. On a recent visit, we bypassed a huge line for burgers at the “beach” but were able to get a table immediately at Lindy’s and the High Moon Saloon. The Theatre, which continually plays old-time movies, was wide open as well. Need an afternoon pick-me-up? Head on over to the Silverwood Coffee Roasting and Trading Company. We found zero wait time in ordering our iced coffee beverages.
Meet The Conductor
Jeffrey Totey and his wife live in the greater Seattle area and is a freelance writer and owner of Writer of Pop Culture website which focuses on pop culture, movies, TV, theme parks and more.
Gotta love paying $.25 to splash unsuspecting people with loads of water 😂😂